Throughout history, professional wrestling has seen so many great heels, and for many, it’s these characters we tend to identify more with. They’re troubled, jealous, and selfish – sometimes justified in their actions – but always entertaining. Generally, in life, we all have those moments where we feel we could benefit more from letting in that darker side and there are many wrestlers in the industry today who play the villain excellently, allowing us to live vicariously through them. We look at some of those that excel in the field of villainy, portraying characteristics of a bully, a psychopath, or a smug and arrogant narcissist:
A heel isn’t meant to be liked, and in Tama Tonga’s case, many vilify him and everything he stands for. Watching him turn on the likes of Cody, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks at the G1 Special was shocking but it also helped to cement him as NJPW’s greatest heel. Up until recently, The Bullet Club were always dirty players and tricksters, but since Omega, the stable has changed and the Tongans don’t like it one bit. He’s trashed Roman Reigns on Twitter, disrespected NJPW officials on countless occasions, and continues his assault on the stars of New Japan.
Ever since his ECW days, Bully Ray has been someone who’s played the heel so well, but in Ring of Honor, there’s nobody worse. He is hated, and the constant assault on guys like Flip Gordon and Cheeseburger have shown just how much of a scumbag he is. Bully’s main drive is that ROH is filled with too many younger guys that don’t understand and respect the old guard, and he despises Cary Silkin for letting it happen. At 47-years old, Bully Ray is still going strong, and with his feud against Flip Gordon and Colt Cabana likely over, who’s going to be next?
Eddie Dennis isn’t your traditional heel. Once a babyface in PROGRESS teaming with his best friend, Mark Andrews, Dennis has become consumed with rage and jealousy, sick of being in Andrew’s shadow. Their match at Chapter 76: Hello Wembley saw Dennis reach new heights, and with the future looking bright for ‘The Pride of Wales,’ his dark persona is hopefully going to grow into something more, consuming the man who once brought honour to the company.
There are seldom wrestlers that portray the pureness of Ciampa. He knows how to rile up the crowd, and takes pleasure in their misery. When he beat Aleister Black for the NXT Championship, the crowd were silenced, sickened that someone as vile as Ciampa could become the champion. It was a refreshing turn for NXT, allowing someone as evil to be their top guy but it worked and is continuing to do so. After a war with Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, it’s Ciampa that has the world at his feet and nobody else strong enough to take the title from him.
Many would love to wipe the smile off of Aries’ smug face, but for a while now nobody has managed to do it regardless of how hard they’ve tried, and with Moose and Killer Kross at his side, it’s going to be tough for anybody to dethrone the king. At Bound for Glory, Johnny IMPACT has a chance to beat Aries but even if he does, there aren’t many in IMPACT that can live up to the arrogance he portrays week in, week out.
Where to start with Samoa Joe? He’s currently one of the main reasons SmackDown: Live is so good at the moment and his feud with AJ Styles has excelled beyond anyone’s expectations. Involving AJ’s family has only boosted his appeal as a heel, and with such a unique fighting style and natural ability on the mic, Samoa Joe is easily the best heel on main event WWE programming right now.
Whether you enjoyed his feud with LAX, Eddie Edwards or Pentagon Jr., there’s no denying Callihan’s visceral approach to wrestling is a joy to watch. He loves to punish his opponents with vicious moves, and weapons of all kinds, making him one of the most feared opponents in IMPACT today. Along with his teammates, The Crist Brothers, Ohio Versus Everything are one of the most audacious properties in wrestling, putting on great shows against many of the promotions top talent.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Paul Robinson at his best – his most unhinged incarnation – but after he attacked Will Ospreay and Jimmy Havoc at Chapter 75, the beast is back. At Hello Wembley, Paul Robinson showed just how sadistic he is, using all kinds of weapons from light tubes, drawing pins, and a staple gun to inflict all kinds of pain on Havoc. After claiming that he is now officially back in PROGRESS as a main competitor, who’s going to be his next victim?
It’s hard not to love The Miz, even though he’s an arrogant and selfish human being. He loves himself and believes he’s the best the WWE has to offer and it’s hard to disagree. His mic work over recent years has come on greatly and he’s always fascinating to watch. His recent feud with Daniel Bryan has made for great viewing and it won’t be long before he once again becomes the next WWE World Champion. Why? Because he’s awesome.
Why oh why can’t WWE use this guy correctly? KO has been one of the best heels on RAW but for some reason, he isn’t getting the push he deserves. Owens’ work on the mic is often laced with truth, pain, and sorrow but the rage and anger that shines through with every promo offer a vulnerable side to the superstar that seems to resonate with fans. The recent ‘I quit’ moment could have been the best move of his career, but after returning the week after with no rhyme or reason, let alone a mention as to why. The shine has once again been taken off Kevin Owens.
Who do you think the best Heels in Pro-Wrestling are? Chris Brookes? David Starr? Alan Johnson? Let us know @SteelChairMag or in the comments.